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When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

france v ireland 1

Since a notorious NASCAR cheater is going to become a 4 time NASCAR Championship Crew Chief tomorrow, and since said crew chief and his evil mechanations have been punished in the past, it seems apropos to raise a few questions about cheating in the ultimate world of soccer, the World Cup.

Thursday’s match between Ireland and France ended with the French beating Ireland 2-1 on a goal by William Gallas at the 103 minute mark. This victory propelled France into the World Cup and eliminated Ireland from the competition. Ordinarily I would note this alacrity and a sigh and then move on to other things, such as the 4-0 ass-whipping my Chelsea Blues just put on the hapless Wolverhampton Wolves (or Wanderers, but I prefer to call them Wolves). Instead, I am more than dismayed as I write this that France gets to move on…in fact I am pig-biting mad. The game winning goal had an assist from France’s premier striker Thierry Henry—he had a hand in it, quite literally. He used his hand to deflect the ball to William Gallas. Against the rules, cheating, and he even admitted it after the game.

But unlike NASCAR, where he would no doubt be called to the hauler along with his coach for a few choice words with Mike Helton before the victory was disallowed and penalties and fines assessed for violation rule 12-4-A  Actions Detrimental To Stock Car Auto Racing, in FIFA, there is no such recourse against cheating or a rules violation. The Swedish referee didn’t see the hands violation (allegedly). And unlike in the NFL, there is no instant replay in FIFA or any of the major soccer leagues. The Irish coach couldn’t throw out the challenge flag. There was no one in a replay booth, who could have called for a review….in the NFL, any scoring play can be challenged and reviewed.

And thus, the cheating French move on to South Africa in 2010. I hope we draw them in the first round so Landon Donovan can jam it up their ass.



No matter how great a player is, there is no excuse for cheating…in fact there is even LESS of an excuse. As much as Chad Knaus’s reputation as a cheater and rules-bender precedes him, he at least has paid severe penalties for his actions. Thierry Henry, on the other hand, will get off, as will his team-mates, pretty much scotfree.

Other than a little furious public relations hit,  Thierry and his team-mates get to move on. And I’m sure they don’t give a rats ass about what the people or the government of Ireland or soccer fans worldwide might think or feel about this. And maybe the furor might have been less if Thierry had simply denied it. But he admitted to cheating on that play. After the game was over ofcourse. Even his former coach at Arsenal, Arsene Wegner (who is French, btw) thinks Thierry’s a pitiful loser for not admitting to the foul right away, in the game, when it happened, so something could have been done about it. But unfortunately, for the greater good, including his own reputation, nothing can and will be done about. It is already in the books. And I’m sure that even if the game was replayed, the French would have have won anyway. But it’s principle of the thing (or the lack thereof). And maybe the luck of the draw.

You know what they say about the luck of the Irish…



We already know that when the Ford 300 tees off in a few hours at Homestead that Kyle Busch will have the deal sealed and if he had a mind to do so, could take his #18 Z-Line Designs Toyota straight to the garage after 1 lap, chug a few beers with crew-chief Jason Ratcliff and the boys, and call it a day. He won’t do that ofcourse. He wants to win and he especially wanst to take his bow at the finish before burning out out all the way to Victory Lane. He wants to smear a little more frosting on the cake. And good for him.

But Sunday Sunday Sunday….well, it’s a forgone conclusion, ofcourse, Chad and Jimmie will smooch in Victory Lane. And even though he has to finish at least 25th, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he will. He tees off from the pole and …wait, what did I just say??



SMOOCHING in Victory Lane?? THAT would never happen, would it?

Not THOSE two!! Not Chad and Jimmie!! SUCH an unlikely couple!! ((But no wonder Jeff Gordon wants to clone Chad Knaus)).



And of course, Danica Patrick and the GoDaddy Girls will not be saving NASCAR this season, and increasingly likely, not the next. Hope and optimism are good and noble things, but, like the inevitability of Jimmie Johnson’s 4th straight championship tomorrow, there is a virtue in also being practical about things.

To be honest, and I hate to say this, tomorrow’s race will likely be as watchable as tomorrow’s horror-fest between the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Brown. Which is to say not watchable at all…especially with Jimmie Johnson leading the parade. And unlike the race, the Lions/Browns game is blacked out so people don’t have to suffer through watching it.

So let me know when the parade is over. They say everyone love a parade, but not me. Time to fire up that Daytona 500 countdown clock.


it's all over now1


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